This post was created in partnership with Pagoda® Snacks. All opinions are very obviously my own.
Fall is when I do my best casual entertaining. Summer is always busy with travel and weddings, winter gets tricky with the holidays and everyone hiding from the polar vortex, and spring partying is dedicated to my birthday and Cinco de Mayo (not casual affairs). But fall! Fall is the sweet spot, and I go all in, peeps.
Post-wedding, I’m itching to get back into hosting mode, but I’m also pretttty averse to planning anything elaborate right now. I just want to invite my favorite friends over, have a few cocktails, eat some delicious snacks, and CHILL. (Football watching is allowed but not by any means encouraged.) Preferably on No-Calorie Sunday, so I can really treat myself, if you know what I mean.
Sidenote: If you don’t know what I mean, No-Calorie Sunday is the one day a week when you can throw caution to the wind and fulfill your wildest food-based fantasies without undoing your Dude Diet progress. This “holiday” makes it easier to stick to your guns throughout the week by giving you a psychological break and satisfying any outlandish cravings.
And that’s exactly what I’m doing on this fine Sunday, friends. Circa 3pm, I’ll be playing hostess with the mostess to my roommate and besties—cold white beer sangria in one hand and a tray of piping hot and crunchy Asian finger foods in the other.
(Logan doesn’t know this is happening yet because I want to surprise him. Also, we have to go to a brunch this morning, and I’m afraid if I tell him beforehand he might hyperventilate and pass out from the excitement. I don’t want to be late.)
Logan has been begging me for years to make him egg rolls and other Asian snacks, but the truth is, I’ve never been able to motivate. I’m not a fan of deep-frying in my tiny NYC kitchen, and truth be told, my mini burrito rolling skills are subpar. So, when Pagoda Snacks reached out to me asking if I’d like to try some of their products, I was cautiously pumped for both my beloved roommate and myself.
I’ve now tried almost every single one of Pagoda’s products, which include several types of frozen egg rolls, wontons, potstickers, and crab rangoons, and I’m very much aboard the Pagoda train. (For the record, all are available in the freezer section of your local grocery store, but the chicken egg rolls are my personal favorite.) As you know, I’m not typically a fan of pre-packaged foods, so the fact that I’m shouting this on the Internets is truly a testament to how much I dig these delightful snacks. They come out of the oven (or microwave! or pan!) perfectly crispy, and the sweet chili and lime ponzu dipping sauces are insane. Probably because they were developed in collaboration with my Food Network Crush, chef Jet Tila.
What I love most about Pagoda Snacks is that they taste fresh AF. This makes sense as they’re all made with fresh-cut veggies, from-scratch wrappers, 100% white meat chicken, and none of the scary stuff. For real. They contain no artificial dyes, no MSG, no trans fats, no PHOs, no high fructose corn syrup, and no preservatives. And while I wouldn’t call any of these snacks health food, they’re actually quite the responsible No-Calorie Sunday choice, which thrills me. It is possible to eat egg rolls and not wake up looking like a pufferfish. HALLELUJAH!!
Since I personally believe all finger foods deserve a fancy cocktail pairing, I’ll be serving my semi-homemade (I mean, I am baking them) Asian treats with a light and refreshing White Beer Sangria. If you’ve never tried beer sangria, I’m obviously tickled to be the one to introduce you to it. Ever had an orange in your Blue Moon and appreciated how it highlights the beers citrus-y undertones? This sangria is like that. But better.
A tart-sweet blend of pomegranate, orange, and lemon juices play very well with the fruity, refreshing flavors of wheat beer, and a generous splash of vodka kicks things up a notch. It’s sort of like a shandy. But again, it’s better. The recipe serves 6, so it’s perfect for a small group, but it can easily be multiplied for a larger crowd. If you do go the crowd route though, I’d simply prep the base in advance and wait to add the beer until you’re ready to serve. Flat beer is unforgivable.
Happy Sunday, friends!! May it be filled with love and all things delicious.
p.s. Pagoda Snacks is giving away a badass prize pack of fall entertaining essentials curated by yours truly, so you too can throw a Sunday soirée with ease. Enter to win here.
- ½ orange sliced into thin rounds (Feel free to use extra for garnishing individual cocktails.)
- ½ lemon sliced into thin rounds
- ¾ cup vodka
- ¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- ½ cup 100% pomegranate juice
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 3 (16-ounce) bottles wheat beer (I like Allagash White or Blue Moon.)
- Add the orange slices, lemon slices, vodka, orange juice and pomegranate juice to a medium pitcher and stir to combine. (Feel free to add ice to the pitcher if you like.) Add the beer and gently stir again.
- Pour the sangria into cocktail glasses with ice and garnish with extra citrus if you’re feeling fancy. Serve immediately.